More hindrances in Zee/Sony merger
May 12, 2023
By Chris Forrester
The long-awaited merger between Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and Sony Pictures Networks India faces another hurdle before the agreement can be wrapped.
India’s SEBI (Securities & Exchange Board of India) regulator has asked for more information and has requested the Bombay Stock Exchange and New York exchange as well as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for specific additional detail.
The focus is on a recently settled ‘inside trading’ allegation against certain Zee staff, including Punit Goenka, MD at Zee. In its investigation, SEBI had found some “unpublished and price-sensitive information” which had not been declared by the media company. The investigation ended with Goenka paying a settlement fine without admitting or denying the findings.
Three other individuals have been barred from the Indian securities market for two years and had penalties against them.
SEBI has asked for information on Shirpur Gold Refinery, an Essel Group company, according to multiple reports. Essel is the parent company of ZEEL, The NCLT is currently hearing the merger case of Zee with Sony. SEBI had issued an interim order in April against Shirpur, along with its former chairman Amit Goenka. Amit Goenka was non-executive chairman and director of Shirpur untill 2021-22.